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Thursday, January 30, 2014

First Birthday Party Planning

Believe it or not, my little guy is approaching his first birthday. Doesn’t it feel like yesterday that I even announced he was on his way?

I’ve taken this birthday party planning business seriously, and though I was torn between multiple themes over the past six months (yes, that’s how long I’ve been thinking about this), in November I made the final decision to do a ‘Little Man’ theme and have gone full-blown ever since.  Because I’ve had plenty of time to think on this, I was able to take advantage of some great deals, including black Friday and after Christmas specials.  I also made the leap over to the dark side: vinyl and paper cutting with the purchase of a Silhouette Cameo.  I’m kinda addicted.

I want to share with you some of the party resources I've found.  Stores and online shops to buy supplies from, and places of party inspiration.  Today I'm going to focus on the theme, invitations, and favors, but later posts will include decorations, party prep, and, of course, food.

Starting with the theme. I wanted to do something that he probably wouldn’t pick for a future birthday. This ruled out trains and cars (just from what I’ve seen in little boys birthdays, they seem to gravitate towards those topics). I was torn between little man, Where the Wild Things Are, and Dr. Seuss. I may do one of the latter two for a future birthday, but once I found this mustache fabric from Hart’s, I instantly ordered two yards and declared it the winner.  Choosing a fabric to go off of really helped, as I didn’t have to choose from a wide range of colors… they were already selected for me.  And luckily, mustache’s are really popular right now. Etsy is swimming with them for all occasions, Target and Walmart have bits and pieces (Walmart actually has a small section right now with party supplies in the mustache theme), and there are so many inspiration posts in the blogosphere.  If you don’t believe me, check out my Pinterest on the topic.

I made the invitation myself, using Adobe Illustrator and the Silhouette to cut out the pop-up mustaches. I gathered my inspiration from various designs on Etsy, and made it into one that fit the party.  You could pretty easily make one yourself, or again, check out Etsy for some amazing sellers.  Some of my favorites were:

I got the invitation paper from Paper-Source and with shipping, it can be a little pricey (as card stock goes). I miss the days of having a Paper Source 15 minutes away.  I’ve been told that Michael’s actually has really good card stock, so I’ll have to check next time I’m in the area.  I didn’t know how many paper invitations I would need, as I’ll also be distributing an invitation electronically to most of my local mommy friends, so I went with 50.  I’m going to use the extras to make stationary, so it works out in the end. You can never have too much stationary sized card stock.

I used foam, adhesive dots to raise the blue mustaches on the invitation. I love the effect that it gave it. I also printed the back of the envelopes with a little teaser, and I used mustache printed washi tape to add the finishing touch.

Next, I want to share with you the goodie bags that I put together.  The average age of the kids at this party will probably be from 8 months – 2 years.  There will be a few older (I think from 3-8 years old) kids there, so I wanted something that would be toddler safe (with supervision), and also fun for the older kids.  I really spent a ridiculous amount of time figuring out how to package these things. Seriously, I don’t think normal people do this. I was torn between paper, cellophane, and burlap type bags.  I did a lot of price comparisons and thoughts as to how everything would be displayed when making pretty much every decision on this party, and with my love of fabric, I ultimately went with the muslin bags.  I found them for a reasonable price (again, lots of price comparison shopping), and once I figured out the contents of the bags, I ordered the size I needed.  They came with a twine-type ribbon that matched the bags, but I had ordered plenty of bakers twine in blue so I swapped it out.  It was a little bit of a pain to do as I had to slightly cut the openings of the top of each bag but the twine looks so good with it that I’m really happy with the extra work.

I love the 'goodies' that I found for the bags. They all went with the mustache theme, and aside from the sidewalk chalk, all came from Oriental Trading Company or Century Novelty (both are bulk party supply stores), so they were really inexpensive.

Mustache Whistles
Rubber Duckies with mustaches
Mustache shaped sidewalk chalk

The finishing touch on the favor bags were tags that I made on my Silhouette. I designed the top, 'thank you' tag on  Adobe Illustrator, then cut that and the black/blue hanging tag bases on my Cameo. I used the foam adhesive to elevate the two levels, and tied them onto the bag. I used card stock from AC Moore which, sadly, was of disappointing quality. It does the job, but I'm going to check out my other craft stores as I've been told they have some better options.

If you're doing a mustache theme'd party, there are so many awesome products out there! Just in my search for links to share tonight, I saw that Oriental Trading Company has added even more items. As much as I would love to splurge, at this point, I have quite a stash and don't want to be accused of going overboard. Ok, I might have already been accused of it, so too late there.  Regardless, check out resources like your local craft stores, Etsy galore, Target, Wal-Mart, dollar stores... you can find some hidden gems out there and get some great deals!

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